Having planned my first baby shower last fall, I learned that it's hard work -- something you don't necessarily see fromthose beautiful (i.e. done by professionals) online albums! For me, it's almost harder to be a guest because I don't have the excuse of running around doing things. I'm trying, though, and getting better at it. Some things that I've learned over the years about being a good bridal shower guest are:
Depending on how close you are to the hostess(es), come a little early, offer to help. Often there are a lot of last-minute details that could really use an extra pair of hands: setting the table, hanging banners, etc. But -- and this is a tough one for me -- don't do too much! Help out with little things, especially if it's at a home you've been to before and you know where things are: pointing people to the restroom, getting extra chairs, etc. But don't rearrange things that have already been placed, and don't take over! Defer to the hostess(es)' plan and vision, they've probably been thinking about it for a while. And since they're probably better friends with the bride, they'll have a better idea of what she wants, which is the most important thing.
Don't be shy about eating! Hostesses go to a lot of time and expense to make or order food, and they stress out about whether it will be enough, too much, etc. etc. Appreciate it, enjoy it, help to not leave too many leftovers! We had homemade cucumber and chicken salad sandwiches and cupcakes with real strawberries blended into the frosting, along with some of the bride's favorites from Porto's. And loads of tea, of course!
No matter how many times you've done it before: Play the games! With gusto! Remember, it's not about you or your shyness, but the bride. We played Mad Libs, "Pass the Teddy", telephone charades, and Project Runway: Toilet Paper wedding dress. Two fellow brides-to-be, including me, were the dress models. My team decided to go with an Eiffel Tower look, since the groom proposed in Paris. We attempted criss-crosses of "fabric" about the bodice and a long train, but the material wasn't very durable. Sadly, we were eliminated.
[tp dresses -- guess which is my team's!]
Don't hog the bride! Let her talk to her other friends, especially the ones who've come long distances.
Another hard one for me: Don't just hang out with people you know! Even if it's been a while since you've seen them. Branch out! You'll probably see these folks again at the wedding, so strike up the conversations.
Take pictures! With the bride's-to-be camera! She'll want those memories. (And she can always delete the ones she doesn't like.) If the hostess(es) are making a scrapbook, make sure you email them a link to your album.
It's good for me to keep these things in mind as I think about the showers I'll be attending in the next year. And, of course, as I consider whether I would like to have a shower thrown for me! That will require thinking about how I feel about being the center of attention, a position from which I usually shy away. What has me leaning towards having one is the sheer and utter joy I feel at being able to be there at my friends' showers. I'm sure my friends feel the same way for me, and it'd be nice to have an outlet and a time for that to happen, in a fun setting.